The rise of crowdfunding has really opened up watchmaking to new entrepreneurs and enthusiasts wishing to make their mark on the industry, and put their product on your wrist. The first product out of the gate is often interesting, but for me, the real test comes with the follow up watches. The Rossling & Company Automatic is the firm’s sophomore effort, back on Kickstarter, that builds on their first watch offering, keeping a similar aesthetic, but adding a mechanical movement.
The firm’s first watch (available now direct from the company) blew past their funding goals, raising $170,000 with 1,200 backers against a goal of $19,000 (Patrick’s review). Their second offering, the Rossling & Company Automatic, is now live on Kickstarter, again with a modest goal of $15,000. They were nice enough to ship me a pre-production sample for a hands on review to coincide with the project launch, and I am glad that they did.
The watch is a fair bit dressier than what I typically wear (divers and aviators mainly), but that is not a bad thing. It really pairs well as a business watch in my business casual office. I have not worn a suit in quite a while, but the style is such that it will work for anything from a dress function all the way to a casual weekend out. I probably wouldn’t wear it on one of my weekend warrior adventures, but I have plenty of other watches that fill that niche. The two things I did not get to check out are the suede and leather straps that will ship with the watch. Instead, I have it on one of Rossling & Company’s tweed strap (tan in this case) with are really nice.
I typically wear watches that are a little larger than the Automatic’s 40mm case size, but this watch actually feels a little larger that the actual size. I think a big part of that is the very thin bezel on the watch, so that the dial takes almost all of that 40mm size. Couple that with the fact that the watch is only 9mm thick, so it sits close to the wrist, it is both comfortable and not at all undersized on my 7″ wrist. The case itself is a polished stainless steel, and the sapphire crystal has a slight ground beveled edge and extends every so slightly above the case.
The case design looks to be a carry over from the first watch, with the back of the watch tapering inward, and the crown sitting in a way that overhangs this taper, so there is an easy lip on the bottom to pull out the crown for winding and adjustment. With the quartz watch, you were only changing the time or date every once in a while. But the Rossling & Company Automatic swapped out the quartz movement for a Miyota 9015 automatic. So unless you wear the watch all the time, you are likely to run past the 42 hour power reserve every once in a while, requiring more adjustments than what would be required with the quartz. I like how this allows them to use a smaller crown that meets the case flush from the front, but is still easily accessible.
Also carried over from the quartz are the blue hands that are now a signature element of the company’s design. The first watch didn’t even offer the blue hands until the third stretch goal, set at $115,000 worth of pledges. I am guessing that the blue hands received such a favorable response that they are now described as “Rossling & Co.’s signature blue hands” in the new campaign. As the saying goes, let success be your guide, and the look of the deep blue hands against the white dial is a success. The automatic does relocate the second hand from a sub dial at 6:00 to a central hand, something I assume was done for economics and to give a slightly different look for anyone who already owns the quartz watch.
Branding is very minimal, with “Rossling & Co.” is small text at the top of the hour and “Self winding” on the bottom. The crown is also branded with an “R.” A date window is at 3:00. There is a double, raised silver bar at 12:00, with single bars at each of the other hours, and smaller black tics in the chapter ring for the minutes. The lugs are drilled to make strap changes very simple. There is no lume, but I don’t think that is an issue with a watch like this.
Overall, it is fair to say that I really like this watch. As a step up from the quartz, the Rossling & Company Automatic keeps the key elements of their first, successful, watch and adds a quality automatic movement to attract another level of watch buyers. I hope that the upgraded movement and the relocated second hand give the folks that bought the quartz enough of a push to jump in again, as that is the pool of the firm’s most enthusiastic buyers (the project has already hit the funding goal, so it is pretty safe to say they had an enthusiastic group of followers). Early bird backers can get a watch reward for $329 (all gone), with price increments depending on timing up to $399. Watches are scheduled to ship starting in late February. The first project was delayed a little but, so I expect that some of these potential hang-ups are built into this schedule. Rossling & Company
- Brand & Model: Rossling & Company Automatic
- Price: $329 – $399, depending on timing
- Who’s it for?: Anyone looking for a dressier watch at an entry level mechanical price.
- Would I wear it?: Yes.
- What I’d change: I would lose the date window.
- The best thing about it: Pretty blue hands against a clean white dial.
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